Western Washington rode another spectacular scoring performance by GNAC Player of the Year Taylor Stafford (6'1''-G) to win the GNAC Men's Basketball Championships Saturday, holding off No. 3 seeded Western Oregon 71-69 in the championship final at Marcus Pavilion. Stafford finished three short of the tournament single-game scoring record with 33 points, 18 of which came in the second half. The senior was named the championships' Most Valuable Player after he scored 64 points in the Vikings' two games. For Western Washington, it was their first GNAC Championships win since the conference tournament began in 2011. It is the fourth time the Vikings had reached the championship game. The conference's automatic qualifier for the NCAA Division II Tournament, the Vikings will learn of their first round opponent and location in the selection show on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. (Pacific). Daulton Hommes (6'7''-G-96) and Deandre Dickson (6'9''-F) added 10 points as Western Washington finished shooting 45.6 percent from the floor (26-57). Western Oregon junior Demetrius Trammell (6'1''-G) put together a career night to try and keep the Wolves' tournament chances alive, finishing with 33 points as he connected on 12 of 21 from the field. Trammell scored 21 of those points in the first half as he and Tanner Omlid (6'3''-F) accounted for all but one of the Wolves' 28 first half points. Ali Faruq-Bey (6'2''-G) finished with 16 points on 8 of 14 from the field and Omlid finished with 12 points and six rebounds. Trammell scored 15 of the first 17 WOU points. His three-pointer at the 14:34 mark allowed Western Oregon the 17-13 lead, an advantage that held until the midway point of the period. Jeffrey Parker (6'6''-F-93)'s three-pointer at the 9:14 mark gave Western Washington its first lead of the game, and after Trammell connected on his fifth three-pointer of the half with 8:51 left, the Vikings took charge. The Wolves did not score another field goal the rest of the half, 50 seconds, and WWU went on 22-6 run to end the period. Trevor Jasinsky (6'7''-F-97) hit a lay-in with 2:47 to go that gave Western Washington a five-point lead and Stafford's three-pointer with nine seconds to go, one of 15 points he scored in the opening half, gave the Vikings a 36-28 halftime lead. Western Oregon chipped away at the deficit as soon as the second half began, narrowing the gap to 38-37 on Faruq-Bey's lay-in at the 17:29 mark, but the Vikings responded to back up five, 42-37, on Dickson's lay-in two minutes later. The Wolves endured another scoring drought midway through the period, this one of four minutes, but the Vikings did not pull far enough ahead to put it out of reach as they grew the lead to no more than five. Trammell hit his first bucket of the second half to make it a 57-56 game with 8:39 and the Wolves reclaimed the lead on a pair of Omlid free throws with just over six to go. Dickson tied the game at 63-63 with a pair of free throws for the Vikings with 5:19 left, but a lay-in by Faruq-Bey and two Omlid free throws put Western Oregon up 67-63 at the 2:37 mark. Western Washington went on a critical 5-0 run at that point and used a pair of Stafford free throws to go ahead 70-67 with 29 seconds left. Western Oregon looked for a three-point opportunity on its next possession, but settled for a Faruq-Bey lay-in with 10 seconds left. The Wolves immediately fouled and Stafford converted one of two free throws to give WOU one more opportunity, but a last-second three-point opportunity for Malik Leaks (6'2''-G) went long.
GNAC Tournament Final: Western Washington - Western Oregon 71-69 GNAC Tournament Semifinals: Western Washington - Saint Martin's 91-79 Western Oregon - Alaska Anchorage 91-84, 3OT
Joe Mazzulla Named Head Men's Basketball Coach at Fairmont State - 1 day ago
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In my Daily Dirt earlier today, I mentioned that Joe Mazzulla was the leader for DII Fairmont State. It's now been made official. Fairmont State University Director of Athletics Tim McNeely announced today that Joe Mazzulla has been named the program's 12th head men's basketball coach. Mazzulla will be introduced to the Fairmont community at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 29 during a press conference inside Joe Retton Arena. Following some opening comments from Coach Mazzulla, media members... [read more]
In my Daily Dirt earlier today, I mentioned that Joe Mazzulla was the leader for DII Fairmont State. It's now been made official. Fairmont State University Director of Athletics Tim McNeely announced today that Joe Mazzulla has been named the program's 12th head men's basketball coach. Mazzulla will be introduced to the Fairmont community at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 29 during a press conference inside Joe Retton Arena. Following some opening comments from Coach Mazzulla, media members will have the opportunity to do one-on-one interviews. Members of the community are invited to attend. A former West Virginia University standout, Mazzulla spent five years coaching at the NCAA Division II level, including three at Fairmont State, before serving as an assistant coach in the NBA Development league last year. 'It is a privilege to welcome Joe back to Fairmont, and we couldn't be happier to have him as our next head men's basketball coach,' said McNeely. 'Joe is well known around the state of West Virginia from leading the Mountaineers to the Final Four, and he has had success at every stop of his young coaching career. 'Coming off a national runner-up season, we wanted to keep the continuity and team chemistry as strong as possible, and we believe Joe is the correct person to keep FSU basketball rolling in the right direction.' 'I am pleased to welcome Joe back to Fairmont State, and I have complete confidence that we have found a leader that can keep FSU basketball competing at the highest level,' said FSU President Maria Rose. Mazzulla most recently served as an assistant coach for the Maine Red Claws (an affiliate of the Boston Celtics) of the NBA Developmental League for the last year. Maine currently leads the Atlantic Division of the NBADL standings with a 28-19 overall record. Prior to his position with the Red Claws, Mazzulla was an assistant coach for three seasons on Jerrod Calhoun's staff at Fairmont State. During that time, the Falcons compiled a record of 67-26 with three 20-win seasons and a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances. 'I would like to thank President Rose, Athletic Director Tim McNeely, Coach Jerrod Calhoun, the entire community of Fairmont and the current players at Fairmont State University for giving me the opportunity to take over the FSU basketball program,' said Mazzulla. 'It is very humbling to get this opportunity and I'm excited to come home and lead a program that is loved and supported by a group of passionate community members. Fairmont is a special place. 'I am excited to get back to work with the returning players and find ways that we can all get one percent better each day.' During his three year's on the coaching staff at Fairmont State, Mazzulla was instrumental in developing point guards Caleb Davis and Shammgod Wells into regular contributors and starters for the Falcon. Wells ended his career in 2017 as the school's all-time leader in both assists and steals. Davis started his first two seasons in Fairmont prior to becoming a key reserve for FSU as a junior in 2015-16. Davis started the first five games of the 2016-17 season before suffering a season-ending injury. Mazzulla was also key in the early development of point guard Jason Jolly, who served as the sixth-man for the Falcons in 2015-16 as a freshman. During that season, Jolly was fourth on the team in scoring (9.4) and made 52 three-pointers. Mazzulla started his coaching career by spending two seasons as an assistant coach at Glenville State. In his time with the Pioneers Mazzulla helped develop two All-WVIAC honorees and a pair of all-freshman team honorees. Prior to beginning his coaching career, Mazzulla played four seasons at West Virginia University for head coaches John Beilein and Bob Huggins. His teams made four-straight NCAA Tournament appearances, including a berth in the Final Four in 2010. Mazzulla also won a Big East Tournament Championship and NIT Tournament Championship at WVU and the standout also excelled in the classroom, getting named to Big East Academic All-Star Team three times (2007, 2009 and 2010). The point guard was the sixth-man for the Mountaineers during the 2010 Final Four run. Mazzulla had a season-high 17 points in the regional final against Kentucky to help lead WVU to the Final Four. As a senior, Mazzulla started 16 games and averaged 7.7 points and 3.8 rebounds. The standout point guard also had 139 assists during his final season with the Mountaineers. Mazzulla and his wife Camai currently reside in Fairmont and have two children, Michael Harden and Emmanuel Joseph Daniel Mazzulla. Mazzulla is a native of Johnston, R.I. Courtesy of: hoopdirt.com
Player of the Year: Justin Pitts (5'9''-PG) of Northwest Missouri State NABC NCAA D2 All-America Team Matt Bingaya (6'4''-G-94) of Fairmont State Joshua Blaylock (6'2''-G) of Fort Lewis Luquon Choice (6'3''-G-93) of Lincoln Memorial Devin Gilligan (6'5''-F) of Southern New Hampshire Zach Hankins (6'10''-C) of Ferris State Jeremiah Hill (6'2''-G-95) of Valdosta State Aaron Lien (6'4''-G-95) of MSU Moorhead Justin Pitts of Northwest Missouri State Justin Reyes (6'4''-G/F) of St. Thomas Aqu... [read more]
Player of the Year:Justin Pitts (5'9''-PG) of Northwest Missouri State
Northwest Missouri wins Division II title - 4 days ago
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Northwest Missouri State has pulled off the double. The Bearcats defeated Fairmont State 71-61 victory for the NCAA Division II men's basketball championship on Saturday in Sioux Falls, S.D. Northwest became the first Division II program to win football and men's basketball titles in the same school year. The Bearcats finished the season 35-1. Northwest Missouri State scored the game's first seven points and never trailed. The Bearcats extended an 11-point halftime lead to 14 on a Justin... [read more]
Northwest Missouri State has pulled off the double. The Bearcats defeated Fairmont State 71-61 victory for the NCAA Division II men's basketball championship on Saturday in Sioux Falls, S.D. Northwest became the first Division II program to win football and men's basketball titles in the same school year. The Bearcats finished the season 35-1. Northwest Missouri State scored the game's first seven points and never trailed. The Bearcats extended an 11-point halftime lead to 14 on a Justin Pitts (5'9''-PG) three-pointer. Fairmont's Matt Bingaya (6'4''-G-94) went on a personal 6-0 run before Pitts responded with another triple. Fairmont entered the game averaging 95 points, but it couldn't muster much offense and its press defense was largely useless against the Bearcats. Pitts, the NABC Division II player of the year, finished with 23 points and was voted most outstanding player of the Elite Eight. The junior from Blue Springs played all 40 minutes and committed just one turnover. Chris-Ebou Ndow (6'6''-F-93) was the work horse on the boards with 18 rebounds to go along with 17 points. Anthony Woods (6'2''-G, college: NW Missouri St.) added 13. Northwest Missouri State had been the regional runner-up each of the past three years. But the Bearcats finished the job for the program's first men's basketball national championship. Courtesy of: kansascity.com
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